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TNA Impact preview (July 10, 2014): Essential exposition, empty epiphanies

Previously on Impact Wrestling

New General Manager Director of Wrestling Operations Kurt Angle hosted a red, white and blue throwdown in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  That meant three titles on the line, a tables match and the return of Earl Hebner! No wonder the fans love their Olympic hero.

Samoa Joe does not seem to love Angle, who he feels is fronting in order to get a World title shot as soon as he's medically cleared to wrestle.  The work a shoot about the Ring of Honor alum half-assing it at times, and Kurt having been bought into the company while Joe had to earn it.  Angle likes the fire he sees from his old Main Event Mafia teammate, who tells the new boss to be careful what he wishes for.

Bobby Roode went looking for the old boss and caught a beatdown from MVP and Kenny King.  He quickly found Principal Angle to tell on the bullies, and the It Factor and his old nemesis went looking for justice.

In between all this set-up, The Wolves successfully defended their tag belts against The Menagerie (needed to get a little more crazzy) and The BroMans (needed Robbie to win this amazing race, bros).  But then it was back to set-up, as Angle tried to book MVP and Roode in a match, but Porter had a doctor's note to get out of it - proving that Impact really is middle school.  King got the call for a street fight instead, and took his latest loss via a Roode Bomb onto a chair.

More talking, this time with Austin Aries vowing to win the X-Division belt back from Sanada just in time to cash in Option C at Destination X for the second time.  Brittany also called out Madison Rayne to revisit that angle, and feigned friendship before laying the Queen out with a clothesline. Bully Ray and Ethan Carter III got promo segments too, but at least those set-up their match...a table match again won by EC3, this time thanks to the surprise return of Rhino.  The master of the Gore is now on Aunt D's payroll.

Gunner convinces Anderson to give Samuel Shaw a chance to apologize, and he does, explaining to Christy Hemme that the "institution" helped him and that he's sorry for what he did.  The former Marine is convinced he's a new man; the asshole and the Playboy Playmate aren't so sure.  Knux is losing money he needs to help the family carnival recover from the flood, but he keeps losing bets he place on The Freak and Crazzy Steve...or something?

The Beautiful People tried to bring their personal boy toy/referee Brian Stifler for Angelina Love's Knockout title defense against Gail Kim, but Angle said no.  The champ still could have taken a countout win from Brian Hebner, but got cocky and ate defeat, so we Kim is a  four time Knockouts champ.

Angle's busy first night as GM DWO came to a sucessful end, but maybe not the one he was hoping for.  Bobby Lashley retained his World title with a spear when Eric Young took a little too long to cover following an elbow drop.  MVP may be down, but he's not out with the champ in his corner.


The second of the two shows taped in Bethlehem before we get to the critically acclaimed Manhattan Ballroom joints.  Previews are spoiler-free, but results and what have you are available here.

Gail Kim isn't wasting any time - I guess she wants to follow EY's lead as a FIGHTING CHAMP.  She puts her newly won belt on the line in a fourway tonight with Brittany, Madison and Angelina!  Maybe she's following The Wolves lead.  Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards are right back at it following up last week's three way dance by squaring off against the brutal Brits, Bram & Magnus.

Aries got his wish granted, because tonight he'll battle the Japanese sensation Sanada for the X-Division title and a chance to cash it in at Destination X for a World championship shot.  And Angle also announced last week that we'll be getting a big 20 man battle royal tonight, with the winner becoming the #1 contender for the TNA title!

Expect to pop for:

Everybody talks too much.  A frequent complaint about Impact in the past was that there was too much talking.  Hulk Hogan had serious things to consider, brother, and you were going to get sixteen segments of him in his office considering them.  The Aces & Eights and whatever iteration of the Main Event Mafia we were on had to have a lot of meetings, in clubhouses, conference rooms and in the ring.

Last week's episode had a lot of conversation between wrestlers.  But even when it didn't lead to a match (and in most cases it did, either for last week's show or this week's), it served a purpose.  The problem with those angles from last year is that they just didn't go anywhere, and the backstage scenes were just spinning the wheels.  We can laugh about Impact going through face authority figures who turn heel and are deposed by new face authority figures - who then turn heel, but at least the Dixie to MVP to Angle transition has happened relatively quickly.  Compare that to the two years of "shocking" reveals for Bully Ray's motorcycle gang.

You may not like Samuel Shaw's story, and I definitely didn't at first, but he's got an honest-to-gosh character arc going.  Same with Brittany, Magnus and Bram.

Just don't ask me what's going on with The Menagerie...

The heat is on:

Surprise! TNA is enjoying some positive press for a change on the strength of their New York tapings from a couple of weeks back.  Problem is, the buzz has been loud enough that it's been hard to avoid at least some of the spoilers.

When we won't get many of those shows for weeks or even until next month, it makes the current episodes feel like something you want to fast forward to in order to get to the good stuff.

But if the cost of getting out of Orlando is having to film six episodes a week every other month, it will still be worth it.

Three titles are the line this week, just like last week.  As the former DWO would say, big things are poppin' on Impact!

Tune in and check them out with your fellow Cagesiders, tonight at 9PM on Spike!

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